'Put Narain in better car'
Ex-world champ hails Indian, points to their Brands Hatch rivalry. Rohit Bhaskar reports.india Updated: Oct 27, 2011 23:58 IST
In HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan's Indian Grand Prix, McLaren's Jenson Button is confident he will finish ahead of the home hero, even a lap ahead given the huge disparity in their respective cars. However, there's a circuit in his native England, where even the 2009 world champion isn't sure if he can match the Indian driver - Brands Hatch in Kent.
"There's no catching him at Brands Hatch, he's really good on that circuit," says Button, who was no match for the Indian ace at the legendary circuit during their British Formula 3 days. In the 1999 season, Narain clinched two wins at the circuit, leaving Button in his wake on both occasions.
Button isn't the only big-name driver who failed to match Narain's pace at the British circuit. The Indian is the only driver to have won races at the circuit in all the series he has competed - in the Formula Ford, British Formula 3, A1 series and the Superleague Formula.
The 31-year-old from Frome adds that Karthikeyan is respected in the paddock, and given the right car, could give the best a run for their money. "Narain's a very talented driver but unfortunately drives a very slow car. He actually deserves a shot with a good team," adds Button.
Talking on his enviable record at the circuit, which hosted the British Grand Prix on 12 occasions between 1964 and 1986, the 34-year-old Indian says, "I remember racing against Button. It was a long time ago (1999), it was my second season and his rookie season. He had a very good season, even winning at Silverstone, Pembrey and Thruxton. At Brands Hatch I got my own back, winning twice," remembers Karthikeyan.
The Indian admits he loves racing on the circuit, "It's a great circuit steeped in tradition. It has an elevated layout and many high-speed corners," he says.
Karthikeyan adds that the fast track blends well with his naturally aggressive approach. "The circuit there suits my driving style, and the familiarity there helps me a lot," he says.
He may be good there but what are his expectations at home? "My main aim is to finish the race and beat my teammate. I'm keeping my expectations realistic, given the car I have," he says, cautiously.
Had this been Brands Hatch, there's a good chance Narain would've thrown all caution to the wind. What say, Jenson?